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Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8040616

Trade-off between Photon Management Efficacy and Material Quality in Thin-Film Solar Cells on Nanostructured Substrates of High Aspect Ratio Structures

1
nLiten Energy Corporation, 650 Castro Street, Suite 120–422, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA
2
Affiliated with Arizona State University, School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
3
Currently with Natron Energy, 3542 Bassett St, Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA
4
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401, USA
5
Currently with Jinko Solar, 595 Market Street, Suite 2200, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 18 February 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Photodetectors and Photovoltaic Devices)
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Abstract

Although texturing of the transparent electrode of thin-film solar cells has long been used to enhance light absorption via light trapping, such texturing has involved low aspect ratio features. With the recent development of nanotechnology, nanostructured substrates enable improved light trapping and enhanced optical absorption via resonances, a process known as photon management, in thin-film solar cells. Despite the progress made in the development of photon management in thin-film solar cells using nanostructures substrates, the structural integrity of the thin-film solar cells deposited onto such nanostructured substrates is rarely considered. Here, we report the observation of the reduction in the open circuit voltage of amorphous silicon solar cells deposited onto a nanostructured substrate with increasing areal number density of high aspect ratio structures. For a nanostructured substrate with the areal number density of such nanostructures increasing in correlation with the distance from one edge of the substrate, a correlation between the open circuit voltage reduction and the increase of the areal number density of high aspect ratio nanostructures of the front electrode of the small-size amorphous silicon solar cells deposited onto different regions of the substrate with graded nanostructure density indicates the effect of the surface morphology on the material quality, i.e., a trade-off between photon management efficacy and material quality. This observed trade-off highlights the importance of optimizing the morphology of the nanostructured substrate to ensure conformal deposition of the thin-film solar cell. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar cells; photon management; nanostructured substrate; photovoltaics solar cells; photon management; nanostructured substrate; photovoltaics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Chin, A.H.; Keshavarz, M.; Wang, Q. Trade-off between Photon Management Efficacy and Material Quality in Thin-Film Solar Cells on Nanostructured Substrates of High Aspect Ratio Structures. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 616.

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